Saturday, February 5, 2011

How to Get Six-Pack Abs in Two Weeks

Everyone wants a flat stomach. To have defined "six-pack abs" is even more desirable. So how do you go about getting that super-cut look? Is it possible to get that toned in just two weeks? There are numerous books, videos and gadgets on the market that claim to do just that. Some even state that you just need a few minutes a day. Others go so far to claim it is as simple as taking a fat-burning pill, and that you can continue to eat all you want and not exercise. But how realistic are these claims? Learn the common misconceptions about getting in shape, and the proper way to get toned abdominal muscles.

Men need to get their total body fat under 10 percent to get six-pack abs. Women need to reduce it to 15 percent or less.

Things You'll Need:

  • Weight bench
  • Hand weights or weighted plates
  • Physio Ball
Understand the anatomy of the abdominal muscles. Your abs are located in the midsection of your body. They are made up of the transverse abdominus, rectus abdominus, internal obliques and external obliques. The transverse abdominus is a deep muscle. It wraps around the entire abdominal area and helps to stabilize the trunk. The internal and external obliques are located along the sides of the rectus abdominus, and assist the body with lateral, or bending and twisting, movements. On top of the transverse abdominus and in between the obliques is the rectus abdominus. It is divided into right and left sides and is in sections. It is a well-toned rectus abdominus that creates that six-pack look.
Avoid common misconceptions. Performing situps is not the only requirement for obtaining flat or defined abdominal muscles. While doing exercise targeted to the abdominal muscles can make them stronger, you cannot spot reduce. It is also important to do a variety of movements. Since the abdominal muscles are large, you cannot effectively train the entire muscle or create that six-pack look by doing just one exercise. You must have a routine that takes your abdominal muscles through a variety of movements to fully sculpt and train them.

Reach a healthy weight and body fat composition. If you are not currently within the required percentage of body fat, you first need to shed those extra pounds. That means controlling your food intake and getting regular cardiovascular exercise for 40 to 45 minutes at least five days per week. This can include using equipment like a treadmill, elliptical machine or bike, or participating in activities like swimming, running or aerobic-exercise classes. It is not recommended that you lose anymore than 2 lbs. per week unless you are under the supervision of a doctor. Weight loss greater than this is not healthy, and shocks the body. Losing weight slowly allows the body to adjust, and the weight tends to stay off. Losing weight is hard, and it is difficult to do it alone. Joining a gym or working out with friends or coworkers makes you more likely to stick with it. There are also programs like Weight Watchers that can guide and support you in reaching your weight-loss goals in a healthy, effective and safe manner.

Perform crunches. Typical abdominal crunches should be included in your routine. They can be done on the floor, a weight bench, a physioball or a machine. However, you do not need equipment to get six-pack abs. If you have some weights, a Physio Ball and a basic weight bench, you can get the abs you always wanted. If you are new to exercise, start with a basic crunch like the one shown in the video in the Resources section. This is a very safe and effective exercise.

Incorporate reverse crunches, another exercise that is necessary to obtaining a sculpted set of abs. As with the regular crunch, you can do this exercise on a declined bench or with a Physio Ball to make it more challenging. You can do the exercise while holding a Physio Ball between your ankles to make the exercise even harder. Try passing the ball to your hands, and lower both the arms and legs toward the floor at the same time. Then bring them back up and pass the ball back to your feet. Lower both arms and legs again. You need to keep your back flat on the floor and the abdominal muscles contracted to protect your back from injury.

Add some oblique exercises. The last part of your six-pack ab routine should include twisting movements to target the obliques. The photo here shows a good basic exercise. You can work your oblique muscles by lying on your back as shown here, lying on your side and lifting up, twisting while standing and sitting, or lying on an inclined bench . As with all of the above exercises, you can add weights and a Physio Ball to take them to the next level.

Limit the number of repetitions. You do not need to do hundreds of ab exercises to get six-pack abs. You need a variety of exercises like the ones described above, done properly. If you are really working your abs hard, you only need to do two to three sets of each exercise for 12 to 20 repetitions per set. If you feel that you need to do a lot of crunches, this usually means the exercise you are doing is not hard enough, or you are doing it improperly. The more repetitions you do, the more likely you are just using momentum and poor form. If an exercise is effective, as you do a set, you should really be feeling it after 12 to 20 repetitions.

Work with an experienced trainer. If you are new to exercise, working with trainer or taking a class can help get you started. The trainer can make sure you are doing the exercise properly, and can help you add variety to your routine. Since getting those six-pack abs is hard work, it may be tough to stay motivated and on track. Having to meet your trainer or show up for a class can help you establish a regular routine and get the results you are hoping for.

Tips & Warnings
  • Always start slowly and pay attention to how your body is responding to the exercise.
  • Be patient; changing the shape of your body takes time and consistency.
  • You should never feel back or neck pain with abdominal exercises.
  • Work with a trainer or take a class if you are feeling discomfort in the neck or back.
  • Stop any exercise that causes pain or makes your symptoms worse.


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